Strawberries may increase longevity and prevent cardiovascular disease
Researchers at the University of Warwick have discovered that strawberries “activate a protein in our bodies called ‘Nrf2’ which is shown to increase antioxidant and other protective activities. This protein works to decrease blood lipids and cholesterol, the very things which can lead to cardiovascular problems.
Eating strawberries has previously been found to counter post-meal blood glucose and low density lipoprotein, or ‘bad’ cholesterol and therefore decrease risk of diabetes and heart disease, but this is the first time that strawberry extracts have been proved to actively stimulate proteins that offer us protection against disease.
According to lead researcher Professor Thornalley, “we’ve discovered the science behind how strawberries activate Nrf2 – increasing our built-in defences to keep cells, organs and blood vessels healthy and which can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
But before you run out and buy a bushel load of strawberries or hunt for Nrf2 supplements, you should know that this research is preliminary and that there is lots more work to be done - identifying the best varieties of strawberries, how they should be served or processed and how many strawberries should be eaten to maximize Nrf2 and optimize your health benefit.
Note – this research will be presented at meeting for the Society for Free Radical Research International in September.